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 Dwarf Lore

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Posts : 71
Join date : 2008-05-23
Location : Karaz-a-Kazak

PostSubject: Dwarf Lore   Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:27 am

Warhammer, to newcomers, may seem on the surface to be just another generic fantasy setting. Oh how they are wrong! This is to give role-players tips on really playing their characters as they should be in the Warhammer world. Also to showcase how different all the Warhammer races are from their other fantasy counterparts.

When naming Dwarfs you can generally go with two routes, or combine them both. First of all, we will cover surnames. In Warhammer you can use your tried, tested and true fantasy Dwarf surnames such as Stonefist, Goldenbeard, Firebrew or any other combination of "Dwarf-like" words. Second, is the use of Scandinavian surnames most often ending in "sson". Ranulfsson, Eriksson for example, and so on. With first names, you may once again use the Scandinavian influence with names such as Rasmus, Erkki, Gustaf etc. The second option for Dwarf surnames are the ones chosen by the creators of Warhammer themselves. Just reading through Warhammer material published by the for creating this Black Library will give you many ideas for Dwarf names.

Dwarfs have many values but three dominate all the others: Age, Wealth and Skill. The older the Dwarf, the more stubborn, wise and strong the Dwarf. The Dwarf obsession with gold is no secret, and their pursuit of the riches of the earth explains their value of wealth. One thing of note, however, is that Dwarfs are hoarders and misers. Dwarfs, unlike Humans and Elves, do not flaunt their wealth with frivolous things but instead maintain a personal stash of gold often so high that they can sit on it. As for skill, this value applies to everything a Dwarf does; battle, brewing, crafting and smithing all take skill. A Dwarf is unable to do anything other than try his absolute best at everything; there is no such thing as a cheap or shoddy Dwarf product. Dwarf made items, from bellows to battle axes, are absolute masterpieces and are without equal.

The Empire: Dwarfs love ale, gold, a warm fire and song. One thing that needs to be touched upon, however, is the fondness shown towards the Empire by the Dwarfs. In the early days of Men, the then reigning Dwarf High King Kurgan Ironbeard was captured by Orcs. The story of his rescue can be found elsewhere, but the most important thing to know is that his rescuer was none other than the mighty Sigmar of the Unberogen tribe. Because of this rescue and preservation of the Dwarf High King's bloodline Kurgan Ironbeard presented Sigmar with Ghal-Maraz, one of the three most powerful weapons ever created by the Dwarfs (and therefore one of the three most powerful weapons in the Warhammer world.) Also was the gift of eternal gratitude and an undying alliance between the Dwarfs and Men of the Empire.

Elves: Although the Orcs, Skaven and Chaos are all bitter enemies of the Dwarfs, the rivalry between the Elves and Dwarfs is crucial and must be brought to the fore for any role-playing between the two species. Although loose allies now, millennia ago one of the most brutal conflicts ever seen was fought between the Dwarfs and High Elves. It is an epic tale but will be briefly summarized here.

Dark Elves dressed as High Elves attacked Dwarf caravans, slaughtering the Dwarfs without mercy. The Dwarfs sent an ambassador to Ulthuan demanding apology and settlement. The Elves laughed and took the Dwarf ambassador, shaved his beard, and threw him out of Ulthuan. Naturally this ultimate insult fuelled the Dwarfs into a rage and the War of the Beard began. At the climax of this long and brutal war, the Dwarfs and High Elves met once again in a battle of epic proportions. The High Elf Phoenix King fought the Dwarf High King in single combat. The High King's hammer shattered the Elf's blade and the Phoenix King was slain before his army. The Dwarf High King plucked the Phoenix Crown from the Elf's corpse, judging Dwarf possession of the most revered artifact of the High Elves as sufficient recompense for the wrongs suffered by his people.

The Dwarfs then returned to their capital and locked the Phoenix Crown in the vaults of Karaz-a-Karak where it remains to this day. Needless to say, that although common enemies and time have made a loose alliance between the High Elves and Dwarfs, there is much animosity between the two peoples as evidenced by the Dwarf proverb "There is nothing as sure in the world as the glitter of gold and the treachery of Elves."


The Dwarfs have a polytheistic religion that revolves around three main ancestor-gods: Grungni, Grimnir and Valaya.

Grungni is the chief god of the Dwarf people and represents mining and smithing.

Grimnir is the god of war and the patron deity of Slayers.

Valaya is a female deity devoted to home, hearth and protection from magic.

Battle Cries
For Grungni! (or Grimnir, or Valaya..or all three combined if it is a particularly dire situation)

For Karaz-a-Karak!

For Karak Kadrin!

While not quite a battle cry, Dwarfs are often heard swearing Oaths before, during and after battle.

While again not a battle cry, one of the eeriest things to hear is a Dwarf chanting his death song in battle. This is most common amongst those of the Slayer cult
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PostSubject: Re: Dwarf Lore   Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:37 am

An enormously proud people, the Dwarfs are quick to react to any slight, real or imagined, and remember any such infraction for years, even passing on the responsibility of vengeance to their heirs through their Books of Grudges, the greatest of which is the Great Book of Grudges; written in the Dwarf language Khazalid and carried by the leader of all Dwarfs, the High King. It is perhaps because of their obstinate pride that the Dwarfs refuse to openly admit that their culture is slowly creeping towards its nadir. Inwardly, however, they know that they are a doomed race. This gives them a uniquely dour outlook upon the world and perhaps explains their great fondness for drowning their sorrows in tankard after tankard of ale. It is not uncommon to hear a Dwarf wistfully recall the great glories of the past, observing bitterly that nothing the Dwarfs do in this day and age can compare to the majesty of what once was.

In fact, the only thing that the Dwarfs love more than a good mug of ale is gold. A Dwarf in the throes of goldlust is a thing to behold. The race's legendary drive and stamina is brought into sharp relief when they are presented with the opportunity to acquire gold. As miners and experts on ore and metals, the Dwarfs are without peer. Items of Dwarf craftsmanship and engineering are the most valuable in all the world, revered even by the Elves.

Dwarfs are defined by their reverence for their past. They construct monumental tombs in order to worship and venerate their ancestors, and their oldest treasures are highly valued in order to respect the craftsman who originally fashioned it and to preserve an element of the continuing Dwarf culture. It is said that when Dwarfs are in any doubt as to how to proceed they look to the Dwarf with the longest beard to tell them what to do. This is invariably the wisest solution.

Dwarfs have exceedingly good memories, and live to a very great age. It is the task of any self respecting Dwarf to memorize the names of every Dwarf in their extended family going back many generations to the time their Clan was first founded by a common ancestor. Should a wrong be done to a Dwarf, it is considered to be dealt equally to their Clan and to their ancestors and their unborn descendants, and every other member of the Clan will be duty bound to avenge them. Dwarfs are a proud, stubborn race, who rarely compromise and are never seen to intentionally back down from a fight. This side of their character is epitomised by Dammaz Kron - the Great Book of Grudges a massive tome written in the blood of the High Kings which recounts all the great wrongs, unpaid debts and deeds of treachery perpetrated against the Dwarf race. Although the grudges listed in the book are occasionally avenged, Dwarfs on the whole tend to prefer to hold a grudge rather than let bygones be bygones. Indeed, the Dwarf language has no word for forgiveness, but many subtle variations on revenge, recompense and retribution.

The religion of the Dwarfs revolves around three major ancestral deities: Grungni, who is said to have first taught the skills of stonecraft and smithing; Valaya, who protects the Dwarf race from harm; and Grimnir, the warrior god worshipped mainly by Slayers.

History[edit] The Ruinous PowersThe Dwarfs have been fighting the forces of Chaos since the very first page of the Great Book of Grudges. Despite the strength of their mountain strongholds, when the power of Chaos grows strong and the followers of the dark gods sweep down from the north the Dwarfs inevitably suffer. Many are the grudges against the Ruinous Powers, but the greatest must surely be that held for the loss of Karak Vlag. During the first Great War against Chaos when the Dwarfs fought side by side with the elves in a desperate struggle for survival the hold of Karak Vlag in the north of the Worlds Edge mountains was enveloped by the warping influence of Chaos, cutting it off from the rest of the world. After the Chaotic hordes had finally been driven back to their own realm, the Dwarfs returned to the site of Karak Vlag to find that the stronghold and its entire garrison had disappeared into the Realm of Chaos, as if it had never existed. It was after this first coming of Chaos that the Dwarf Ancestor Gods disappeared.

The Great BetrayalThe event that sparked the Great Betrayal is recorded in Dammaz Kron as a relatively minor grudge concerning the theft of a caravan of gold and other goods being transported across the Old World. The attackers were described merely as Elgi Khazalid for Elves since at the time the Dwarfs did not distinguish between the Asur and the Druchii. The Sundering of the Elves had not concerned the Dwarfs in their mountain kingdoms since the concept of a war of kin against kin was totally incomprehensible to them, and they had maintained good relations with the Elves of Ulthuan. In fact, on the orders of Malekith, the Dark Elves had been secretly raiding Dwarf caravans disguised as High Elf warriors, and as the raids continued the Dwarf king, Gotrek Starbreaker, issued strong protests to the Phoenix King demanding compensation. Caledor the Second, the Phoenix King at the time, was considered arrogant even by Elf standards, and he ignored all demands made against him, saying only that the Phoenix King did not answer demands but granted pleas. Relations between the two races became increasingly acrimonious, and things reached a head when the ambassador sent to Ulthuan by an infuriated King Gotrek in order to prevent a war was sent home with his beard shaved off, causing the ambassador to take the slayer oath in shame. The inevitable war that followed is recorded as the War of Vengeance, although the elves refer to it as the War of the Beard. For the next four centuries the two races slaughtered each other on battlefields across the Old World and many great and powerful grudges were added to the pages of Dammaz Kron, until the Battle of Three Towers at the gates of Tor Alessi, where King Gotrek slew Caledor and took the Phoenix crown from his corpse as payment for the many wrongs suffered by his people. The Dwarf army marched back to Karaz-a-Karak and placed the crown among the treasure hoard of the High Kings, where it remains locked away to this day.

The Grobi WarsBy far the greatest and most vengeful of the grudges held in Dammaz Kron are against the Grobi Khazalid for Goblins and those who aided them. Page after page of the tome records in grim detail the events of the thousand year long period of Dwarven history when the tribes of Goblins swarmed over the Worlds Edge Mountains inflicting unthinkable suffering on the Dwarf kingdoms. Earthquakes, eruptions and floods weakened the impregnable defences of their strongholds, and when the Goblins attacked not even the unbreakable axes and hammers of the Dwarfs were able to stop the never ending tide of greenskins and skaven from overrunning their holds. The Everlasting Realm was shattered as countless beleaguered outposts, settlements, mines and temples were destroyed and occupied by their enemies. Among the grudges in Dammaz Kron, the most grievous losses ever suffered by the Dwarfs occurred at the hands of the Grobi, the Skaven, and the Orcs as entire kingdoms were destroyed. Karak Ungor the delving hold, now known as Red Eye Mountain. Karak Varn and its gromril-rich mines by the shores of Black Water. Ekrund, home to the Dragonback Clan, in the shadow of Mount Bloodhorn. Mount Gunbad, the largest and richest mine in the Worlds Edge Mountains and home to the blue crystal Brynduraz. Mount Silverspear, seized by the Orc Warlord Urk Grimfang and renamed Mount Grimfang. Karak Eight Peaks, Karak Azgal and Karak Drazh, all ravaged in the space of fifty years. The loss of these treasured holds is still felt by every living Dwarf as though it happened yesterday, and all Dwarfs dream of the day when they can purge the greenskin filth from their ancient halls forever.
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